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Winter Solstice Festival : Yule Log Crafts and Magic

For ancient Germanic and Celtic people, the impulse to celebrate solstice was the same as for their neighbours to the south , a celebration of the cycle of nature and a reaffirmation of the continuation of life.

Yule means "feast" or maybe"wheel" . Midwinter Solstice is the time of year when we experience our shortest day and longest night - the sun is at its lowest point in the sky at noon.

I am pleased to share with you this interesting blog previously posted on Love of the Goddess. (All rights reserved by the author).

The Yule log was used by the Celts in their Yule celebrations and rituals. It was usually made from an Oak tree, and decorated with evergreens, mistletoe and holly. Burning the Yule log comes to us from the tradition of the Yule bonfire which symbolized the power of the sun, which was thought to be reborn at the Winter Solstice.

There are many different crafts and magical rituals you can do with a Yule log. For your Yule ritual, take a log of oak or pine (really anything you can get easily) Cut out three holes on the top, you can cover it with some varnish or sealant so it wont dry out. Now put three chime candles in, colors of red, black and white to represent the Goddess. Now you can use this for your Yule ritual! You can also take your Yule log on the night of Yule, carve some symbols in it representing your hopes for the coming year, decorate it with some red ribbon and holly, and then burn it to release its powers.

Making and using a Yule log can become a great family tradition! Kids love making holiday crafts and it's a good way to introduce them to your Pagan faith. A great little craft to do with kids, is to make mini Yule log ornaments. You can give these away as gifts for Yule, or just simply hang them on your own tree.

Mini Yule Log Ornaments

*A stick about 3 in long
*Red yarn or ribbon
*Small feathers
*Small pieces of evergreen like pine, holly, fir
*Seed beads in your choice of colors
*Hot glue gun

Decorate each small log with the feathers, evergreens and seed beads. Tie a piece of red yarn or ribbon around the center and knot it in a bow. To hang as a tree ornament, add a small ornament hook or a bent paperclip.

These are very easy to make and fun too!
Enjoy making your Yule log family traditions!

Yule log ornaments is from About.com

A quote from Celtic Sprite:Traditionally the Yule log was lit with the saved stump of last year's log, and then it was burnt over the twelve days of the winter celebration, and its ashes and stump were kept until the following year to sprinkle on the new log, so that the fortune would be passed on from year to year.

Yule is attested early in the history of the Germanic peoples; from the 4th century Gothic language it appears in the month name "fruma jiuleis".

The etymological pedigree of the word, however, remains uncertain, though numerous speculative attempts have been made to find Indo-European cognates outside the Germanic group.

About AD 730, the English historian Bede wrote that the Anglo-Saxon calendar included the months geola or giuli corresponding with either modern December or December and January.[3] He gave December 25 as the first day of the heathen year and wrote that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated all night long to honor the Germanic
divine "mothers":
 
They began the year with December 25, the day some now celebrate as Christmas; and the very night to which we attach special sanctity they designated by the heathen term Mōdraniht, that is, the mothers' night — a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies they performed while watching this night through.
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